Diversity and inclusion are bywords at St Joseph’s, so it is no surprise that the College is implementing an ambitious programme aimed at educating the world’s top young sporting talents. This will happen whilst remaining true to the needs of our student body, by signing young elite sport players from Spain, the Cayman Islands, Germany and Ireland. Recruitment from the United States is expected to follow.
Running alongside this global campaign is a strengthened link with Ipswich Town FC, whose Academy players will be educated at the school in a tailored day release programme. The innovative regional and international football focus for boys and girls at St Joseph’s leads the way within the independent school sector.
Having reviewed our already strong sports provision over the past 12 months, the College decided to expand and refocus its performance sports pathways, consolidating St Joseph’s position as the region’s leading rugby school whilst also utilising expertise within team sports more broadly. The established pedigree and knowledge will now also be brought to bear across football, netball and cricket for girls and boys.
Assistant Principal – Director of Sport, Mr Anthony O’Riordan, said, ‘This diversification of sports pathways will benefit all students in the College and strengthen our aspirational ethos.’
He added the school remained committed to ensuring that its highly effective games provision for all would continue, including hockey, racket sports, athletics and others.
‘Our vision is to refocus our efforts and expertise across four specific sports – rugby, netball, cricket and football – working collaboratively with professional sports stakeholders, including Northampton Saints Rugby, Mavericks Netball, Suffolk Cricket, ITFC and Loughborough, Essex and Suffolk Universities. We will simultaneously ensure a rich, holistic sports offering and provision to the student body as a whole,’ he explained.
Ipswich Academy Manager, Mr Lee O’Neill, said, ‘We are delighted to be working with St Joseph’s College through the LFE (League Football Education) to provide our scholars with an excellent environment to learn on and off the pitch. St Joseph’s College has a proven track record when working with elite young athletes. Furthermore, we feel its ability to offer a range of academic provision only strengths young players’ options throughout their football journey. The College has a home from home feel and this is something that we advocate at the Academy.’
Recruitment of international elite sports boys and girls is strictly governed by British law and, to meet the regulations, the College is working in conjunction with Xplore, an established Stowmarket-based company specialising in global student programmes.
Company spokesman, Mr Ben Sinclair, said, ‘At Xplore we are seeing a growing demand for summer courses and academic placements that combine quality language education with elite sports coaching and development. This industry trend, along with our passion for sport, has fuelled our excitement in exploring new opportunities, including key strategic partnerships, like that with St Joseph’s College, for developing high performance sports programmes for international students.’
Welcoming the further development of elite sporting pathways at St Joseph’s College, the Principal, Mrs Danielle Clarke, said, ‘We are extremely happy that our already strong sports provision is expanding and further developing. Our students derive enormous benefits from studying and playing alongside elite young sportsmen and sportswomen from across the globe.
‘We see Sport as an integral part of life here at St Joseph’s, on a par with academic endeavour and success, and an emphasis on the Creative and Performing Arts. Enabling young people to become rounded, grounded global citizens, who are fulfilled by following their individual passions is our business,’ she added.